Virginia Tech basketball coach Buzz Williams and football head coach Justin Fuente were both on Monday night’s Tech Talk Live, as the two head coaches talked about the state of their respective teams. The men’s basketball team is 2-0 following a 132-93 win over The Citadel on Sunday night, while the football team has lost two straight games and hosts Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Here are the highlights from the show.
How team handled The Citadel’s press defense
“We took three less bad shots against those guys than we did on Friday night. I think our turnover rate was too high, but it was a 97-possession game. But percentage-wise, it was still too high. I was encouraged by some of what we did. I didn’t think that we were great, and I think that style leads you and trends in a direction where you play undisciplined, where you play their style of play. But I thought for the most part, I thought our guys tried to execute what we asked of them, and I think that’s hard to do on a one-day turnaround. It wasn’t like Saturday, we had the scout team or the second team, ‘Hey, you guys just go play wild, and let’s get a rep of what The Citadel is going to play.’ It was a lot of walking and talking, and we showed them, obviously, clips, but I thought they retained it and for the most part did a good job.”
Justin Robinson vs. The Citadel (19 points, seven assists, two turnovers)
“I thought he played better (Sunday). He had a quad contusion, if that’s the right word, on Saturday for walkthrough, on the same leg that he had the reconstruction. So he went to the doctor Sunday after he got back from church. It is kind of a minute-by-minute, he had treatment twice. I think he’s doing the second treatment right now as we’re doing the show. He’s in a really good groove. Like I told you guys last night, mom, dad, favorite people ever, Ernest Jackson, it’s not just the treatment as much as it is, we always say rehab, but there’s a lot of prehab. Things you need to do that are preventative. That’s not just in his room, I think Chris [Clarke] has been good. When you’re as competitive as he is, he wants to play. And if he thinks that all of these parts of the process help him as a player, he’s going to do it. We just need to continue on that path. He’s been cleared in that physically, there is nothing structurally to be concerned about. What is to be concerned about is structurally, we’re not over-stressing too early that he has been cleared. I think that’s the best way to say it.”
Preparing for Saint Louis, who is playing a lot of transfers
“I studied a couple hours with Jamie (McNeilly) and Lyle (Wolf) today. Jamie is the primary scout and Lyle is the secondary scout. They had one exhibition, it was against a team you’ve never heard of (Harris-Stowe). They’re playing (Monday, vs. Rockhurst) against a Division III team from Kansas City, and their first game was against Seattle. When Travis (Ford) got the job, he signed four kids, all four were transfers, and then they signed two really good high school players last year who are freshmen on their team this year. Both of those freshman played 33 minutes or more in their game against Seattle, and three of the four freshmen played 27 minutes or more. So, there’s not a lot of data to go off of. What I saw, in all the research they do for me three days before a game, it’s kind of the Cliffnotes version on video on paper. The numbers they know I’m going to see. Kind of, if I was writing a book report, this would be the information I would need to start it. They run a lot of stuff offensively, but it’s only one game. And the game tonight, you can’t even get it through HokieSports, like whatever that’s called for their version. They’re not even streaming the games. So, it’ll have to be a lot of kind of what we think they’ll do, and we’ve studied some of what they did last year.”
Process of identifying leaders for next season’s team
“I usually take that time right there in between the last game and our bowl game to really kind of look at the roster and see where we’re at. It’s kind of the ole’ deal where you look at your depth chart, you take the seniors off the board, which is kind of sad, you take them down and look at the returning guys from the spring, you bring in the nametags of the guys you think you’re going to sign that are going to be in at midterm, and start to formulate your vision of who’s going to need to step up, what you need from certain people, have a couple meetings in there to talk to guys about the challenges coming up, what you need from them, and then try and identify who those guys are going to be. We’re fortunate that Ricky (Walker) is a junior, and he’s done a fantastic job, along with several of the other guys, being good leaders.
Anthony Shegog’s performance vs. Georgia Tech
“I just think the world of that young man. He’s played several different positions, he’s a highly intelligent football player, he plays on all the special teams. Played really well Saturday. Just is the definition — we talk about team-first, a guy that understands that all of his actions affect everybody else in the room, and he’s there every day, intense, attention to detail, trying to be the best player he can be, and just a pleasure to be around.”
Thoughts during Josh Jackson’s lucky completion to Eric Kumah vs. Georgia Tech last weekend
“To me, that play right there — obviously Josh has done a really good job of taking care of the football. He hasn’t thrown balls like that. That’s kind of a freshman throw a little bit. But to be honest with you, at that point in the game, with the way things were going, I really didn’t have a huge issue with chunking one up there. And I’m not like that and believing in that, but it was to the point where the sledding was so rough and hard, that I’m going to give him a double-minus on the grade sheet, but at the same time it wasn’t one of those where we pull him over there and get after his tail on it. I was much more unhappy with the throw in whatever was, the Delaware game, that was a touchdown than that one, just because of the way things were going and where we were at. It was almost like he felt like he needed to put one up there just to give us a chance.”
Getting the offense to play with more confidence
“Well, I think that — I’ll go back to this, just talking about our offensive kids. Like, we beat North Carolina pretty soundly, and I was furious with them. They have responded and played at a better level the last two weeks. Now, we haven’t scored as many points, and really the last three weeks, but they’ve been playing the game in a way that I’m more familiar with. Now, we haven’t been just ripping off big chunks of yardage and all that sort of stuff, there’s an execution level we’ve still got to get to, and winning one-on-one battles, whether that’s the right tackle, or the tailback in the hole with the unblocked hat, or the wide receiver or Josh. Whatever it is, we’ve got to win some more of those battles. I think those guys know. They’ve embraced what it’s going to take. It’s going to take taking care of the football, take being efficient, playing incredibly hard in order to give us a chance, and the games are going to be close. It’s the way it is.”
Greg Stroman vs. Pittsburgh’s Quadree Henderson in punt returns
“Man, I’m telling you. That kid that they’ve got — and Greg has done a great job, don’t get me wrong. Incredibly competitive and dependable, and it’s going to be an interesting battle because their guy is electric. He’s their kick returner, he’s the guy you’re going to see going back and forth in jet motion all the time, No. 10, and he can really run. He returns punts and kicks, runs fly sweeps, and is a heck of a darn good player.”
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